We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. Should I go for Ivar’s chowder or Beecher’s mac ‘n cheese at SeaTac? Do I have time to do yoga at SFO’s Terminal 2? How long will it take to get to ATL’s Concourse E for a cocktail at One Flew South?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to America’s airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Portland International Airport (PDX).
Portland International Airport is located 12 miles northeast of downtown Portland and just south of the Columbia River, which separates the Oregon and Washington border. PDX is the Pacific Northwest’s secondary gateway and hub for many routes and airlines, including Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Portland International Airport has two terminals, North and South, which are connected by a walkway and feature five concourses. The MAX Red Line Light Rail service connects Portland International Airport with Portland City Center, as well as other nearby neighborhoods. Several of the major rental car companies are located on airport grounds, while a number are located off grounds as well. Complimentary Wi-Fi is offered throughout PDX.
It’s only appropriate that the city known for food trucks would have food truck-themed dining options. Oregon Market, located just prior to security, features a rotating series of Portland food carts, such as renowned Portland spot, Pok Pok, famous for its chicken wings, and Koi Fusion known for its Asian fusion. Many of PDX’s other standouts are also Portland-based, such as Flying Elephants (pre-security), a popular local deli, Mo’s Seafood (Concourse C), The Country Cat (North Lobby) for southern-inspired food, Sandoval’s Tequila Grill (Concourse C), Henry’s Tavern (Concourse C), and Rose’s Restaurant & Bakery (Concourse D). Both Café Yumm, which specializes in healthy rice bowls, and Bambuza, a Vietnamese restaurant, have local roots and are located in Concourse C.
As one of the top beer cities in America, Portland naturally reflects that reputation at its airport. This first starts with Rogue, an Oregon brewery that brews a plethora of award-winning, interesting beers, like the the Sriracha Hot Stout. You can get a number of their beers on draft, in bottles, or as a sampler. Continuing with the craft beer trend is Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, a longtime Portland brewery, which has a PDX outpost with a selection of its microbrews. Some of the restaurants mentioned above also feature local and regional craft beers, such as Henry’s Tavern, which has more than 30 craft beers, as well as a selection of wine (some of which are from the Pacific Northwest) and custom cocktails. Cocktail and spirit lovers have options, too, such as The Country Cat, which has a menu of custom cocktails (and craft beer), such as their loaded Bloody Mary, and Sandoval’s Tequila Grill, which has a large selection of tequila.
For years, the most popular attraction at PDX was its carpet, which had gained national media attention and was frequently photographed by travelers. Perhaps Portland International Airport’s most unique feature now, however, is its art and entertainment programming, which features an extensive set of permanent and rotating exhibits, but also numerous daily performances from musicians (schedule can be viewed here). You’ll find a number of Portland-themed specialty shops at PDX, such as House Spirits Distillery (Concourse C), which sells its line of award-winning small batch spirits, and Powell’s Books, a popular line of Portland bookstores. Portland International Airport is also within a few minutes of a couple different golf courses, such as the Broadmoor, and public parks near the Columbia River, including Blue Lake Regional Park.
Frequent flyers on Alaska Airlines will find an Alaska Airlines Board Room in Concourse C. Portland International Airport also has a Delta Sky Club in Concourse D and United Club in Concourse E.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he’s not traveling, he’s perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.